Mobile Phone: In a world that is connected 24 hours a day, why wait so long for a ‘nerve-wracking’ answer?
It’s been about an hour but your phone hasn’t rung yet, contrary to your expectations.
You sent a text message in the hope that it would be answered soon but you are still waiting for an answer after an hour has passed.
With each passing minute, you become more restless and angry. It only takes a couple of seconds to say that the answer will come shortly. As time goes on you start to get anxious.
Do you have any worries about whether your friend is angry with you? Did he misinterpret your message? Do you know if he is upset about something else?
Many people do not care how long their friends respond to their message. But there are also people who are dissatisfied if they do not receive an immediate response to the message. The reason for this anxiety and frustration is said to be the 24 hours digital availability. That is, the socially expected expectation that the person we are sending the message to will be on the phone at all times and should not delay in answering.
Why is it that some people get upset about this even at a time when many people are undergoing ‘digital detoxification’ due to mental health issues?
People still communicate in different ways today. Some want to stay connected to the phone all the time, while others like to stay away from mobile for most of the day.
But one of the reasons for the anxiety and stress associated with the response period is social behavior. Rapid advances in digital technology have radically changed the principles of communication. That’s why when we send a message, not everyone responds according to one rule.
Twenty-four Hour Pressure
The proliferation of fast communication technology has increased people’s expectations of being available at all times. And it happens. According to a 2021 survey, 3% of Americans believe they are online all the time, especially during the Corona epidemic.
Jeff Hancock is a professor of communication at Stanford University in the United States and also the director of the Social Media Lab. He says the reason for this pressure is the combination of two things. The first is the mobile itself, which is accessible to as many people as possible, and in which there are many means of communication, and the second is changing social attitudes.
Simply put, people have more than one means of communicating with each other, and because these media outlets are in our pockets at all times and in all places, the pressure to respond has become normal. Apparently, we are in a position to answer all the time so we have to give.
The social media apps and platforms in our phones have made the concept of 24-hour communication a part of our lives. This is further exacerbated by working from home or away from the office.
Responding faster has become the norm in the workplace because a late response means that the boss’s opinion of you will be affected. Social networking expert Michael Stefanon is a professor of communication at the University of Buffalo. Whether it’s a message about office matters or posting a picture on Instagram, we’re used to being quick to respond, he said.
Annoying Feeling all the Time
There are a number of reasons why a phone sender gets upset when he doesn’t hear an immediate response. Our phones make us feel close. A friend on another continent seems to be just a text distance away. But the sender does not know the condition of the person on the other end of the phone.
Professor Hancock says that when someone’s message is not answered, some people become very upset because they associate the situation with their mental disorder. He says that if I text you and you do not answer me, I will use my imagination because I do not have much information. Like I think maybe he’s angry with me or maybe he’s dead. We have no idea who the other person is.
And this can only add to the frustration of the sender, which can lead to a bitter thought that every time the phone passes, then why can’t they just answer that they are busy now and will talk later. Or you may wonder if they were happy to see my name on the screen.
Coe is a professor of social psychology at the University of California, Berkeley. He says such negative thoughts become more intense when the sender sends a light joke or meme that is too trivial for the recipient on the other side.
Such messages are expected to receive a quick response because it is thought that they do not take much time to respond.
One of the reasons for this anxiety is that there is no single clear rule of conduct in the digital world. No system has been set up that agrees on how long it would be rude not to respond after receiving a message on the phone. According to Professor Cheshire, the pace of technology is faster than our expectations and attitudes are.
According to him, new means of communication have also been introduced in which written signs have been introduced as an alternative to face-to-face communication which one has to use one’s mind to understand and therefore in such messaging confusion and confusion. There is also an increase.
This trend has intensified in the last 25 years since the advent of the Internet and has worsened over the past decade since the advent of smartphones.
New messaging challenges have also widened the gap in long-established communication attitudes. For example, in the pre-Internet era, some people would answer a phone call or a letter immediately, but some would take time. Differences in these attitudes can also lead to the same problem as not getting a response to a text message today.
But still, the question is why some people are more worried than others?
It is possible that some people expect to receive a quick response as a result of their natural instincts. Professor Hancock says of the individual differences in waiting for a response that some people want a quicker response than others and one of the reasons is that there are some messages that are important to the sender and that is why The answer is also quick to receive.
But according to Professor Cheshire, the societal attitudes associated with modern communication are also deeply related to the differences that may explain the different reactions people receive when they respond late. As in normal life, notification norms are set.
Under these norms, certain behaviors are considered correct, such as what to tell someone and when. For example, if you tell someone big news, they are usually greeted immediately but delay in response is considered bad.
In contrast, not everyone in the 24-hour digital world agrees on who you can contact and who you can’t, and how quickly you should respond. Notification norms of this world are not set. According to Professor Cheshire, these principles are not written anywhere.
For this reason, it is quite possible that a person who is disturbed by the delay in replying to a message is applying self-imposed rules to others and behaving as if his rules are the norm in the world. The person on the other hand is following different rules.
Professor Hancock says that his personal experience and opinion is very important in this matter because no one else has any other context. I do not know what is happening to you so I will impose my personal opinion on you and your situation.
Is it Permissible to be Angry at the Delay in Reply?
What can you do if you can’t find the answer? Maybe yes and maybe nothing.
If you get angry at the delay in answering, it may help you to think that you are arbitrarily bothering yourself and trying to impose your personal experience and worries on someone else when you do not know that. What is the reason for the delay in response and what is the situation of the other person? And keep in mind that the behavior you think is right may not be acceptable to everyone.
The anxiety and worry associated with this issue is probably now the norm in the world around the clock.
According to Professor Cheshire, this is because the social values associated with communication that bring everyone together are not the same. But now that people are talking more about it, it is quite possible that new social values will be set, because that is possible only by talking openly.
So if you are also worried about the behavior of a friend or loved one who is either sending a message or waiting for it, it would be better for you to talk to him openly.
In the meanwhile, if your blood starts to flow due to a delay in the next answer, the best solution is to hold the phone in your hand for a while. The world that stays connected 24 hours a day is already very nervous.